MOVIE ACADEMY TWEAKS ELIGIBILITY RULES FOR NEXT YEAR

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Usually, after a movie is nominated for an Oscar, some fans will head for a streaming service or buy a DVD to check the film out. But when the nominations come out for next year’s Academy Awards, it’s possible people may have already seen the films on streams or disc. The Motion Picture Association of America has changed the rules for the upcoming Oscars because of the coronavirus. The academy has waived the rule that Oscar-eligible films must be screened for at least a week in a Los Angeles County commercial theater. But because most theaters are closed, films can get nods if they’ve been released on a streaming service or disc. The change is for this year only.

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121034-v-312:48-(Oscar Wells Gabriel, AP entertainment correspondent)-"I'm Oscar Wells Gabriel"-Streaming films eligible for Oscars, but for 1 year only (29 Apr 2020)

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121036-c-184:08-(Oscar Wells Gabriel, AP entertainment correspondent)-"as other categories"-Streaming films eligible for Oscars, but for 1 year only (29 Apr 2020)

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CELEBS TO DO JOINT COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES FOR SHUT-IN GRADS

NEW YORK (AP) — Do you remember who spoke at your graduation ceremony? This year seniors will lose the experience of sitting with their fellow students waiting to turn their tassels — because of the coronavirus pandemic. But they will have the experience of having some of the top names in the celebrity world speaking at their commencement exercises. That’s because Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X and Simone Biles will take part in a huge, virtual graduation ceremony. #Graduation2020 is set for May 15 — and will stream on Facebook and Instagram.

REALITY SHOW CAST MEMBER DIES IN CAR WRECK

ATLANTA (AP) — Fans of “Little Women: Atlanta” are mourning the death of one of the reality show’s cast members. Her name: Ashley Ross, who went by the name “Miss Minnie.” She died Monday after being injured in a head-on auto collision the night before. Ashley Ross was 34 and a star of a Lifetime series that follows a group of women with dwarfism as they try to get into the hip-hop business.

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121037-v-327:36-(Oscar Wells Gabriel, AP entertainment correspondent)-"I'm Oscar Wells Gabriel"-Little Women of Atlanta star dies in car wreck (29 Apr 2020)

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BOLLYWOOD CHARACTER ACTOR IRRFAN KHAN DIES

NEW DELHI (AP) — One of India’s best-known exports to Hollywood has died. Irrfan Khan, a veteran character actor in Bollywood movies, played the police inspector in “Slumdog Millionaire” and the park executive Masrani in “Jurassic World.” He also appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the adventure fantasy “Life of Pi.” Khan died Wednesday after being admitted to a Mumbai hospital with a colon infection. He was 54. Khan was diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine cancer in 2018 and underwent months of treatment in the United Kingdom.

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121112-r-121:20-(Bryce Dallas Howard, actress, and Irrfan Khan, actor, in scene from "Jurassic World")-"good it's fantastic"-Irrfan Khan, of 'Slumdog Millionaire,' 'Life of Pi,' dies (29 Apr 2020)

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121111-w-426:00-(Margie Szaroleta (zar-oh-LEH'-tah), AP entertainment correspondent, with Irrfan Khan, actor)-"cinema and theater"-Irrfan Khan, of 'Slumdog Millionaire,' 'Life of Pi,' dies (29 Apr 2020)

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121110-w-325:20-(Margie Szaroleta (zar-oh-LEH'-tah), AP entertainment correspondent, with Irrfan Khan, actor)-"I'm Margie Szaroleta"-Irrfan Khan, of 'Slumdog Millionaire,' 'Life of Pi,' dies (29 Apr 2020)

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CHRIS CUOMO, OTHER CABLE TV NEWS HOSTS GET BIG RATINGS

NEW YORK (AP) — He spent much of this month broadcasting from his basement. But when the ratings came out, Chris Cuomo (KWOH’-moh) ended up in the penthouse. He, along with other prime-time cable news anchors, have posted big ratings this month. Cuomo was quarantined because he had COVID-19 — and did most of his CNN shows downstairs in his home. His wife and teenage son also were infected. Meanwhile, other hosts like Tucker Carlson, Joe Scarborough, Nicolle Wallace and Anderson Cooper got ratings bumps.

MLB MULLING PLANS TO GET BACK ON THE FIELD

NEW YORK (AP) — How can you run a major league baseball season in the middle of a pandemic? It’s a question Major League Baseball is trying to answer. And even though they’re just spit-balling right now, there are some ideas being floated. One, according to sources, would see the 30 teams split into three regional divisions — and teams restricted to playing in their region. There are other plans on the table. Of course, none can be implemented until health officials determine it’s safe for the games to resume, with or without fans.

MLB AUTHORIZES REFUNDS FOR TICKETS

NEW YORK (AP) — Less than a week after two fans sued Major League Baseball seeking refunds, MLB has told teams they can create their own ticket refund policies. It’s unclear whether refunds will involve returning fans’ money — or applying the money to games when and if they are played. Spring training was suspended March 12 and the scheduled March 26 start of the season has been delayed by the coronavirus. The NBA and NHL seasons are also suspended. None of the sports has yet disclosed a timetable to resume.

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II

Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2